Standing Together, Singing

This week twenty-five years ago, in 1986, Filipinos ousted the dictator Ferdinand Marcos with a non-violent massive protest on Manila’s main highway, EDSA. The movement was known as “People Power,” an apt description of the force that overthrew a tyrant. It wasn’t bombs or kidnappings or guerilla warfare that toppled the criminals in charge. The deed was accomplished by amassing enough people unified in purpose that the military realized they would have to kill thousands, tens-of-thousands, maybe more, if they wanted to preserve the corrupt status quo. This was a major problem, because if all your indentured servants are dead there’s no one left to exploit.

The People won. Marcos fled, the charade of fair and free elections resumed, and others took his place at the self-enrichment trough. The revolution continues, peaceably for now.

We’ve seen similar scenes unfold, thrillingly, over the last few weeks in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Libya and, one hopes, many other places to come. In each case, the protesters generally exercised discipline and did nothing more aggressive than chant “We are peaceful” and “Leave!”

When enough people stand together and chant, or sing, letting the harmonic vibrations of their human yearnings blend with the harmonic vibrations of the universe, combining millions of individuals into One, the power-mongers have little choice but to capitulate. What else can they do? Kill everyone?

Someone ought to write a book about that…

Let us lay down our weapons and raise our collective voices. No matter how much our overlords profess deafness, eventually they’ll be compelled to hear the glorious sound of human liberty.

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